One section of Public Law 112-96 (enacted on 2/22/12), namely section 6103 would require public safety users to vacate the T Band Spectrum (470 – 512 MHz) by 2023. H 5085 would repeal this provision and we strongly support the repeal.
Our organization operates the Greater Boston Police Emergency Radio Network (BAPERN). Since its inception in the mid 70’s BAPERN has grown from the its original 41 members to some 170+ police agencies today. This network provides inter-operable communications between all agency members local, state, county, federal as well as the police departments of several major educational and medical institutions. In addition to the interoperable communications provided by the network, all agencies also use their own T Band frequencies(s) to provide daily critical voice communications in serving a collective population of over three million residents in Eastern Massachusetts.
T Band has been the life blood of public safety communications not only of police, but also by many Fire and EMS providers in the same geographic footprint. It has become one of if not the most robust system in the country providing inter-operable communication during major incidents such as the terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon in 2013. It is inconceivable that public safety could move from T Band to another spectrum as nowhere is there sufficient spectrum to accommodate public safety needs, to say nothing of the minimum half billion dollars plus cost for Metro Boston alone, if space were available.
More and more we see the need for a strong inter-operable network to respond to the growing threats, both foreign and domestic that have become all too common. If the Margery Stoneham Douglas High School shooting were to happen here, the BAPERN T Band would be the primary communications tool utilized for command and control of the incident. Obviously hoping that this is not the case, if it were how would we answer law enforcements ineffective response due to the lack of our superbly functioning T Band system. Speaking for BAPERN and all member agencies, we strongly support the repeal of S. 6103 and urge immediate passage of H 5085.
Chief Joseph Griffin (Ret) Chief James Hicks
Director of Operations Chairman